Congratulations for what?

I sit here, at the end of my degree(s) wondering where to go. I should be happy and proud of my accomplishment. But I sit here feeling empty, lost and alone.

I know why I feel this way, I wouldn’t be a graduated sociologist if I didn’t. I finished my degrees not for myself, but for the people around me. To make my parents proud, to feel as accomplished as my friends and to be accepted in society.

University was not the right path for me, I’ve known that for the past couple years. I’ve known that since the moment I cried to my dad in fear of not being able to finish, I’ve known since I’ve cried myself to sleep numerous times in frustration and I’ve known by watching my falling grades in devastation since year 2.

So why did I finish? Why did I put myself through the torture of sleepless nights, unexplainable amounts of anxiety and the pain of failure in my heart? Because I was supposed to right? Because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be successful in life right? Because if I dropped out I would be a quitter.

These are not things I make up in my head, they are things people have said to me. They are words from other’s mouths, through text messages and through societal expectations of my generation.

School was not for me.

But I finished.

So I guess that deserves a celebration, even though my heart is still lost and alone in a world that expects too much.

Motivation Monday!

I am currently writing my last final! I can’t wait to be done and be able to focus on reading and writing things that actually interest me!!

Here’s a 20 min. video on social media and our society. It’s truely a great listen and really makes you think about the amount of time we all spend on our phones!

Talk to you all soon!

-A

13 Reasons Why.. you need to watch this series right now!

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I’m usually not the kind of person who jumps on the train of the newest fads or watches the shows that everyone else is watching, but.. I broke my own rules and my goodness am I happy I did.  If you haven’t heard of the Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why”, stop what you’re doing, head over to Netflix, and check it out. It’s seriously life-changing and worth all the hype! I crushed the series in two days, and for once I can say it wasn’t a waste of my time.  Here are 13 reasons why I think everyone needs to watch this series at least once.  (ps, no spoilers included)*

  1. It really puts into perspective how your actions and words can affect another person’s life.  Calling someone fat, telling someone they’re stupid, slut shaming a girl; even though you may think these are just words, you never know what another person is going through and the harm these words can have on them.
  2. Rape.  A topic that is often pushed to the back of the closet, is brought out into the light and there is definitely no filter on it (which is exactly the way it should be).  This show gives it to you straight and doesn’t tippy-toe around the subject like other shows and movies do.  It shows how rape changes a person’s life forever. It’s not okay.  The series also depicts the rapist as someone you wouldn’t think would be one, and shows the consequence of this as well.
  3. There’s something in this show that everyone can relate to.  Whether you were the bully or bullied, you get to see both sides and it really makes you second guess your actions and will hopefully change the way you act towards and talk about other people.
  4. This show starts conversations. The number of people I have talked to about this show in the past week is insane, which is such a good thing. It’s starting conversations about hard topics, topics that are usually not talked about in public and that is such a beautiful thing. Yes, topics like rape, suicide, self-harm, child abuse, etc. are ugly and horrible, but they need to be talked about so teenagers and kids know that they are not the only ones going through these things.
  5. It helps adults who didn’t have the same technology we had growing up understand cyberbullying, and see how it can have such a huge impact on someone’s life. Social media is a huge part of our generation, and our parents who didn’t grow up in the same cyber infused world we did, now have an insight into what it’s like through this show.
  6. This series also shows teens, kids and anyone really that what you say and put on the internet is now there forever. The pictures you post, the things you write, are on display.  It also shows that Facebook, Instagram and other social media apps are filtered versions of people’s lives. Even by looking at all the pictures and posts a person puts online, you could still have no idea what’s going on in that person’s life.
  7. Teenagers don’t think the same way adults do.  This point was brought up in the “behind the scenes” episode.  Something that may seem small and insignificant to parents, teachers and other adults, could actually be something huge and trivial for a teenager.  This show helps people understand that sometimes the little things, could be the things that push a person over the tipping point.
  8. Slut shaming needs to stop.  Women are not objects or things.  Being sexy or attractive should not be the most important aspect or trait that a girl or women can possess.  Objectifying women, just opens the door for other people to do the same.  No teenage girl should ever be viewed in this way.  Calling a girl “easy” or “tight” or rating girls on a scale of 1-10, are things that need to stop.
  9. This show will make you reflect on your high school self, whether it was a couple months ago, 10 years ago or if you’re still in high school now. This series makes you think back on the things you did right and wrong and what you can do differently now.  It teaches you how you can learn from your past actions, teach others, start conversations and hopefully shape your future decisions.
  10. Teenager’s brains aren’t developed fully like adults and they aren’t always able to explain their feelings in words. All signs of depression or suicide should be taken seriously.  Dropping of grades, changes in personality, aggression, etc. are all signs that can often be overlooked.  Teenagers don’t always understand that the things they are feeling are treatable or can be helped. There are millions of options out there.
  11. I hope watching this series helps teens, kids and even adults know they are not alone.  Opening up, asking for help, or even offering your ear to someone in need can make a difference.  Looking back, I wish I would have.  I wish I would have understood the feelings I had did not make me broken, or unlikable. They made me human and it would have been perfectly fine for me to tell someone I needed help.
  12.  Another topic that is brought up in the “behind the scenes” episode is about being open about sex and sexuality between parents and children.  Teenagers need to learn about consent to understand what is okay and what is not okay.  Young boys should be taught to ask a girl, “do you want to have sex?”. If they can’t build up the nerve to simply ask that question and get a clear “yes”, then they shouldn’t be having sex in the first place.
  13. Personally, this show impacted me the most in the suicide episode.  Like the rape scenes, the series does not shy away from showing the main character, Hannah’s suicide.  This scene in the show is absolutely unbearable and uncomfortable to watch.  Going through high school, I was very depressed and more than once thought about ending my life.  Watching this episode showed me so many things.  Its rawness took away the “easiness” that I use to view suicide as.  Ending your own life may end the pain you are feeling at that exact moment, but you leave behind so many people that are now hurting in your absence.  Suicide is not an easy way out. Suicide is forever. Suicide doesn’t only take your life, it takes someone’s sister’s life, someone’s daughter’s life, someone’s best friend’s life. Suicide should never be an option.

I hope this helps convince you to check out “13 Reasons Why”, and if it didn’t, hopefully, my reasons gave you a few things to think about.

It’s okay to not be okay. You won’t always feel the way you are feeling right now. People care about you even when you don’t think so. And you have an amazing future ahead of you. Keep pushing.

-Ash 🙂

Our Earth Angel

I haven’t written in awhile because in all seriousness I didn’t think the things I wanted to write about were really worth it.  The recent passing of a friend put a lot of things into realization. Put life into a new perspective for not only myself but for a lot of people around me.

This past week my mind has been running in over time. Trying to understand why someone so full of energy and life could be taken at such a young age. Trying to understand the stages of grieving and how people do it differently. Trying to be there for my best friend but also allow myself to grieve and find the understanding I needed.

Amanda was the most beautiful human you could have ever met. Anyone who met her knows this. She lit up every room she walked into and left every room a better place. In a short 26 years, she changed more lives than some people do in 80. I was lucky to make some unforgettable memories with her, that I will always hold close to my heart.

Her aunt explained her in the best way possible. She called her an “Earth Angel”. An Earth Angel is someone who is sent to Earth to make the world a better place.  To help others, spread kindness and to make a difference by shining light and love on everyone around them. This is exactly what she did. This is exactly what Amanda was, and unfortunately, Earth Angels don’t often live for very long. They live fast, they make the world better place and they leave, leaving a positive impact behind.

Amanda will forever be missed by many. Her smile and shining light will continue to live on through all those who met and knew her.

In Loving Memory of Amanda.

 

#LettersToNoOne

Dear Whoever Needs to Read This,

I want you to know you are not alone. No matter how alone in this world you may feel sometimes, or how much you might have convinced yourself that no one cares, you have people who care about you.

I want you to know that you will make it through this. Even through the times that you feel like you’re drowning in a never ending hole of darkness. You will see the light again, and when you do, you will appreciate the light more than you did before.

I want you to know that you will find someone who loves you one day. You might have to go through a few to find someone who really appreciates you as you are, but when you do, it will be worth the wait.

I want you to know that all the hard work will pay off. Keep pushing. Never give up on yourself. And never let anyone tell you your dreams are too big.

I want you to know that the mistakes you make, we’ve all made. Learn from them and move past them. Don’t let the past ruin your future.

And lastly, I want you to know you are perfectly perfect the way you are. All the little things that make you different, the little things that you might not like about yourself, are the things that make you, you. Please make sure you surround yourself with people that never let you forget this.

#ALetterFromMeToYou

**UnderstandUs‘s newest campaign will be launching in May. This year’s campaign is called ‘Letters To No One’. I can’t wait for you all to see it!

🙂

A

Opinions

I read a quote the other day, and it talked about the need for alone time. The need to be by one’s self to refresh, digest and formulate opinions. In our society, we are constantly influenced by those around us, even when we think we aren’t. People’s opinions are constantly filling our heads through social media forms like, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, also through news sources on television and in the news paper and then there’s also advertisements that are pushed in front of our faces all the time. Everywhere we look, people are trying to convince us to think, act, and be a certain way.

Now more than ever alone time crucial to build our own thoughts and opinions. In this society, do you think it’s possible to build our own opinions without being influenced by those around us? With our cellphones being glued to our hands and thoughts always being pushed into our heads, the thought of unbiased opinions sounds like a hard concept to grasp.

I believe that in life there is never just one way to look at something, even though sometimes our society tries to convince us otherwise. I challenge each of you to form your own opinions on things. If something doesn’t seem right or correct to you, dare to think outside of the box. Sit in silence every once in a while. Let your thoughts form on their own. Decide if  you agree or disagree with what is being taught and told to you. It’s people in this world that choose to create their own ideas. thoughts and opinions that make a difference.  Remember though, to be open to all the opinions around you as well. If you are expecting people to be willing and open to your opinions, then you must treat their’s the same.

Have a great weekend loves!

Ash